There are very few people that actually give even one hoot and even fewer that could give two of them when it comes to poverty of people that are living in society alongside us. We live in an I’m-alright-Jack world where love thy neighborprobably means just a quick extra-marital affair rather than a hand reaching out to give some help. But the austerity measures that have washed the European Union away have left in the wake of the tsunami just a lost generation of people that are trapped in growing and ever-increasing poverty.
Failed Policies of the EU
The charity Oxfam in the UK has just published a damning report that will probably go very much unheard of showing that by 2025 there will be 25 million people that are living in poverty due to the austerity measures imposed upon them. It will go largely unheard of because other things are turning the media’s attention away from such a social crisis and in turn the people of those very same countries are fixated with the belief that it is Syria, Bachar-al-Assad or Vladimir Putin or even the election of Angela Merkel that are more important than people actually starving from lack of financial resources in the countries that they live in.
Oxfam believes that the austerity measures imposed on populations in European countries takes us back to the havoc wreaked by structural programs of readjustment in developing countries that most of us only witnessed sitting in the comfort of this side of television-land. Now, that’s not the case. Back then, in the 1980s and in the 1990s it was the fault of the International Monetary Fund that in their infinite wisdom had gladly wanted to bail out the failing countries of the world just as long as they cut spending to a minimum and they imposed increases in taxes on the entire population. Not that much different from what is being done right now in the European Union. How little we remember!
The report published this week states: “These policies were a failure: a medicine that sought to cure the disease by killing the patient. They cannot be allowed to happen again”.
Today the number of people that are living with the financial resources equivalent to just 40% of the median income of the European Union stands at15 million, but this will increase by at least 10 million more as the measures show their full effect on the population of European member states.
The citizens of the EU have been bamboozled into believing that austerity is the only way out of the economic strife of the financial crisis. Reduce, cut costs, increase taxes, freeze wages, raise the prices and reduce purchasing power. A recipe for disaster in any economy, that will only make the banks richer and the people poorer, except for the stock-market investors that will willing reap the benefits of the falsely improving stock market due to the unconventional monetary policies that have been put in place by the Federal Reserve of the USA,for example.
Greece will never see the end to its woes in the EU and there will be a lost generation of people (or even two) as the country tries to battle with the rising debts and escalating costs of repaying that debt, all imposed by the troika (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Greece will most certainly need yet another bail-out plan to help it find at least €10 billion. Unemployment is over 1 in 4 people today in Greece (27%) and it is most certainly the austerity measures that have played their role in the worsening situation of the people.
Apart from making them work for free (and starve so they cost nothing in a short while) there can only be a deepening debt crisis since there are few people actually working in the economy and therefore the generation of economic activity that is already in a dire situation has become even worse. It is only the top 10% of those countries that are seeing their wealth grow, with the gap being widened every time the IMF and the ECB impose new austerity conditions and provisos on the countries. The inequality is widening so much that there will soon be little difference between the dictatorial leaders of the developing countries in some places that maintain their populations in the poverty that they have become accustomed to simply to reap the benefits of their privileged positions of decision-making implementation.
Greece is in 3rd place in the poverty rankings of the EU, just after Bulgaria and then Romania. Latvia comes in at 4thplace.
In the UK for example median income for households is predicted to increase by sometime in the middle of next year. However, by 2015 the median income of the UK will still be below the level that was reached in 2010. Benefits from the state will not keep pace (under the present austerity measures) in the UK with median-income rises and this means therefore that there will be 1 million extra adults living in relative poverty in the UK by the year 2020. There will also be an average of 300, 000 children living in relative-poverty households. Median income of the UK is lower by 7%today than it was in 2010. The austerity measures that have been imposed in the UK include in the latest round of cuts announced in July by George Osborne the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer:
- £11.5 billion in total cuts.
- That means 8.5% for 2015 and 2016.
- Across the board spending cuts in all departments of roughly 10% of their budgets.
- A 7-day waiting period where an unemployed person is not allowed to sign on in order to claim benefits after losing a job.
- Claimants who cannot speak English will lose their state benefits.
- This alone is estimated to save £350 million.
In the 1990s more than 50% of people in the UK believed that their taxes should be raised in order to provide a better public service to the country. Today only 36% of the country believes that this should happen.
The EU Finance ministers will be meeting tomorrow in Lithuania. The recovery has yet to materialize and the people of the EU were told that they would have 5 years of austerity and things would be on the mend.